APEC senior officials have been meeting on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing to determine the priorities for APEC China 2014, just after the World Trade Organization found consensus this weekend in Indonesia and while Trans Pacific Partnership negotiators are seeking an agreement in Singapore.
Officials of APEC, a region that accounts for more almost half of world trade, are studying new opportunities and challenges, including new areas of growth and economic reform for the region. Importantly, they will look at the role APEC will play within the context of the newly agreed Bali Package and noodle bowl of regional trade agreements.
Just as the delivery of the Bali Package which encompasses much of what APEC Leaders envisioned - an historic agreement on trade facilitation, some elements of agriculture, and development, including issues of interest to least developed economies provides momentum to multilateral trading system, Senior Officials are discussing the progress negotiators are making to seek a conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and the rise of plurilateral agreements.
“Just a few months ago in Bali, every leader from APEC said they wanted the DDA to succeed,” said Dr Bollard on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali last week.
At the APEC Meeting in Bali two months ago, Leaders acknowledged in a statement the urgency to achieve successful outcomes at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference. They also reaffirmed their commitment to build on the Bali package to achieve the full conclusion of the DDA and to continue the negotiations to address the remaining DDA issues post-Bali.
“So, now we’re looking at not just bilaterals, not just regionals, but mega-regionals and how well designed they are,” Dr Bollard explained last week. “We will be spending a good amount of time next year thinking about how these things might come together rather than how they might diverge.”
“Based on the developments last week in Bali, a new kind of approach may be required to enhance the ultimate chances of success,” said Dr Bollard.
“To bring benefits to the private sector, we hope the WTO may consider expanding on sectoral agreements like those addressing information technology and services like APEC has done.”
In their statement, APEC Leaders called for a swift conclusion to expand the WTO Information Technology Agreement and to explore opportunities in the WTO to build on the APEC commitment to reduce tariffs on the APEC List of Environmental Goods.
China’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Wang Yi, is expected to address the Closing Session of the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, 10 December 2013.
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